fbpx
 

WASHINGTON — The Navajo Nation on Monday sued the Department of Interior and Secretary David Bernhardt in federal court over the tribe’s 2020 contract for its forestry management program.  

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, stems from a contract dispute between the Navajo Nation and the DOI's Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

Last September, Navajo Nation submitted a Successor Annual Funding Agreement (SAFA) proposal for the tribe's forestry management program.  The SAFA proposal was declined by the BIA in December 2019 for two reasons:  First, the BIA claimed, the proposed work couldn’t be properly completed or maintained by the proposed contract and, second, the amount of funds proposed exceeded the applicable level of funding. 

Navajo Nation appealed the BIA’s decision by requesting an Informal Conference, which was held on February 18, 2020.  Two days later, the Secretary’s Designated Representative issued a recommended decision in the Navajo Nation’s favor. 

The decision concluded that the BIA’s reasons for declining the proposal were “legally insufficient” and did not meet the “statutory threshold requirement.” The recommended decision also said the BIA should “immediately approve and award [Navajo Nation] funding of $717,736.77” to resolve the issue. The recommended decision became final for the DOI on March 30, 2020 after the appeal period expired.   

In the lawsuit, Navajo Nation asks the court to compel the DOI and Bernhard to approve the 2020 SAFA proposal and statement of work as proposed and to immediately award applicable funding of $717,736.77 to the Nation. 

Native News Online reached out to a DOI spokesperson, who responded, but did not provide a statement prior to publication time.  This story will be updated if the DOI offers a comment.  

 

 

More Stories Like This

American Basketball Association Announces Native ABA Initiative
Four Winds South Bend Upgrades to Class III Gaming Casino
Native News Online Wins Two Awards from Native American Journalists Association
Wahlberg Brothers Are a Big Hit at Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas
Native Gro Offers Tribes a ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Entering the Cannabis Industry

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]